A working group convened by the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) has evaluated more than 60 disease activity measures for rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The group narrowed the number of RA disease activity measures and the recommended six for use in U.S. clinical practice are detailed in Arthritis Care & Research, a journal published by Wiley-Blackwell on behalf of the ACR.
RA is a systemic inflammatory disease, affecting more than 1 million Americans according to ACR estimates. Medical evidence has shown significant improvement in RA treatment over the last two decades, making disease remission possible for many patients. While many health care stakeholders advocate standardized assessments for RA disease activity, uniform measures of RA activity are not currently used by U.S. rheumatologists.
To address this important issue, the RA Clinical Disease Activity Measures Working Group systematically reviewed medical literature to identify disease activity measures for RA. The group surveyed rheumatologists for input and used this feedback along with psychometric analysis to determine recommendations for RA disease activity assessments.
"Our goal was to determine which RA disease activity measures could accurately distinguish the various levels of RA activity, and would also be reasonable to implement in clinical practice," explains Salahuddin Kazi, M.D., with Dallas VA Medical Center in Texas and one of the lead researchers involved with the working group. The group identified 63 RA disease activity measures, narrowing that down to 14 measures for further evaluation by practicing rheumatologists.
Feedback from the rheumatologists determined that 9 measures would be most useful and feasible in a clinical setting. The working group then selected 6 disease activity measures based on their reliability, validity and responsiveness. The ACR-approved recommendations for RA disease activity measures include:
In a related article, "2012 Update of the 2008 American College of Rheumatology Recommendations for the Use of Disease-Modifying Antirheumatic Drugs and Biologic Agents in the Treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis," Singh et al. include the RA disease activity measures (Table 3) to guide clinicians in selecting the appropriate treatment options for their patients. "Rheumatologists are tasked with treating to target, and one or more of these disease activity measures will help determine the level of RA disease activity in the patient," said Dr. Kazi. "
The measures recommended to determine RA disease activity are sensitive to change, can discriminate between low, moderate, and high disease activity states, include remission criteria, and are feasible to perform in a clinical setting," concludes Dr. Kazi. "Incorporating standardized disease activity measures will facilitate adherence to the ACR guidelines for treating RA and aid clinicians in providing quality care to their patients with RA."
Full citation: Article: "Rheumatoid Arthritis Disease Activity Measures: American College of Rheumatology Recommendations for Use in Clinical Practice." Jaclyn Anderson, Liron Caplan, Jinoos Yazdany, Mark L. Robbins, Tuhina Neogi, Kaleb Michaud, Kenneth G. Saag, James R. O'Dell and Salahuddin Kazi. Arthritis Care & Research; Published Online: April 2, 2012 (DOI: 10.1002/acr.21649).
URL Upon publication: http://doi.wiley.com/10.1002/acr.21649.
Author Contact: To arrange an interview with Dr. Kazi, please contact Monica Smith, public affairs officer with VA North Texas Health Care System at 214-857-1158 or monicaA.email@example.com.
The study is published in Arthritis Care & Research. The article can be found under the 'Publications' section at www.rheumatology.org or by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Journal:
Arthritis Care & Research is an official journal of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR), and the Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals (ARHP), a division of the College. Arthritis Care & Research is a peer-reviewed research publication that publishes both original research and review articles that promote excellence in the clinical practice of rheumatology. Relevant to the care of individuals with arthritis and related disorders, major topics are evidence-based practice studies, clinical problems, practice guidelines, health care economics, health care policy, educational, social, and public health issues, and future trends in rheumatology practice. The journal is published by Wiley-Blackwell on behalf of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR). For more information, please visit http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1002/(ISSN)2151-4658.
About the Society:
Headquartered in Atlanta, Ga., the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) is an international professional medical society that represents more than 8,500 rheumatologists and rheumatology health professionals. Rheumatologists are internists or pediatricians who are qualified by training and experience in the diagnosis and treatment of arthritis and other diseases of the joints, muscles and bones. Over 50 million Americans — including nearly 300,000 children — suffer from the painful, disabling and sometimes fatal effects of arthritis and rheumatic diseases. Learn more by visiting http://www.rheumatology.org or follow ACR on Twitter at http://twitter.com/acrheum.
Wiley-Blackwell is the international scientific, technical, medical, and scholarly publishing business of John Wiley & Sons, with strengths in every major academic and professional field and partnerships with many of the world's leading societies. Wiley-Blackwell publishes nearly 1,500 peer-reviewed journals and 1,500+ new books annually in print and online, as well as databases, major reference works and laboratory protocols. For more information, please visit http://www.wileyblackwell.com or our new online platform, Wiley Online Library (http://www.wileyonlinelibrary.com), one of the world's most extensive multidisciplinary collections of online resources, covering life, health, social and physical sciences, and humanities.
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